There has been a lot of discussion on what to do with Todd and 1b for 2011. We discussed to death the players available on the market who could help us and the Rox will afford. A lot of people consider me a Todd hater and that is patently untrue. I predicted that given his injury history and age; he'd fall off a cliff this year and he more or less did. I also stated he still has some hot streaks left in him and he has shown he has. I've also said his days as an everyday player are done and even Todd would conceed that. The question is how much should he play. If he is not playing everyday what exactly should be his role be.
I have said Todd should consider gradually consider being mostly a pinch hitter to prolong his career, and it seems that Todd and most at PR have rejected that as we all want to remember Todd as he has been. The operative word is gradual. Here is a path to there within the orginization that I think that gives Todd a prominate role and uses him to best advantage. I expect Howls of rejection, but I think Bill James would approve.
Seth Smith should be the starter against most right handed pitching at 1b next year. Yes you heard me right. I'll back that assertion with stats in a moment but here is my theory. Todd is still a better than league average against left handed pitching and is probably better than anyone we would acquire. Todd hits best middle to late in games and Mr. Late Night actually hits better early when he starts. Neither Todd or Seth actually perform well with 2 out and runners in scoring position. Both are better as rally starters than big time run producers. Seth's numbers drop off the more AB's he sees in a game and drop off significantly late and close. Todd's do too but is more apt to do something that benefits the team even if it makes him look bad. Todd's numbers do not significantly change against LHP and Seth's do. Todd hits better on the road than Seth.
Seth should start against RHP's to get the most out of his bat and Todd should face the Loogy's late sent to finish Seth or Ian or or some other left handed bat late and go to 1b on the double switch. Todd still faces left handed starters as a regular and spells Seth on road starts against particularly bad match ups vs ground ball pitchers. That should allow a close to 50/50 split in responsibility and Seth is still available to pinch hit late when Todd starts as Seth does hit best in his first AB's of a game. I am a believer in leverage and clutch stats. I looked across the board at all their more conventional and split stats but this is what jumped at me. Because of Todd's injury and Seth's constant platooning you could say their whole 2010 stat lines are outliers. But it's what I have to work with, and like it or not; Todd's stats are no longer are going to look like his career line.
AB H 2b 3b HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BApip sOPS+
Vs RHP 247 70 13 4 16 44 26 45 .281 .351 .563 .914 139 .287 138
Vs LHP 48 7 2 0 0 4 0 10 .146 .160 .188 .348 9 .179 2
H lvg 59 11 2 1 3 16 4 9 .208 .254 .453 .707 24 .186 69
M lvg 108 25 6 2 2 8 11 23 .231 .306 .380 .685 41 .274 87
L lvg 134 41 7 1 11 24 11 23 .306 .363 .619 .982 83 .300 164
2 O RISP 34 8 0 0 3 13 5 4 .235 .333 .500 .883 17 .185 129
Lt & Cl 63 10 2 0 3 10 9 17 .159 .243 .333 .576 21 .163 64
AB H 2b 3b HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB BApip sOPS+
Vs RHP 200 51 10 1 3 11 32 36 .255 .359 .360 .719 72 .296 92
Vs LHP 112 30 4 0 2 14 12 32 .268 .321 .357 .688 40 .346 103
H lvg 49 9 1 0 2 12 10 12 .184 .306 .327 .633 16 .184 72
M lvg 101 31 5 0 1 9 18 23 .307 .412 .386 .798 39 .390 121
L lvg 162 41 8 1 2 3 16 33 .253 .324 .352 .676 57 .307 86
2 O RISP 27 3 0 0 0 3 6 7 .111 .273 .111 .384 3 .150 9
Lt & Cl 56 14 1 0 2 7 10 14 .250 .358 .375 .773 21 .293 111
The out "liars" on this is the egregious way Seth has been platooned has literally caused him to be BApip(ed) to death for lack of consistent exposure. That said; it does not excuse his troubles after the third time thru the order. In Todd's case his utter fail in 2 0ut runners in scoring position are a reflection on his recieving most of his opportunities while playing hurt. He could not reach outside pitches with any leverage, and had reduced bat speed in side. Todd's SHOCKING sOPS+ is an off the scale anomaly. His career sOPS+ in that situation 170 and is an elite number. Given his age and health I expect a healthy Todd to hit a more pedestrian 115 -125 Both Seth and Todd are now suspect in high leverage situations. Hence my saying they are more igniters than producers. Ideally both should hit 6th in a balanced batting order.
As someone who is old school and was taught to intuit what all these new fangled stats try to say; I wish to make these salient points. Both Todd and Seth are pure line drive hitters. Seth even more than Todd. Seth's margins are somewhat narrow compared to Todd's phenomenal hand eye coordination. Todd actually has a limited ability to steer his hits. He is less prone to being BApip(ed) on ground balls when healthy as a result. Seth can be much more easily defeated by positioning . When these guys are hitting ropes is when they are most effective. When you see Seth pounding it into the ground, or getting a lot of arc on his fly balls; be ready for the slump. When you see Todd struggling with out side pitches, and notice a drop off in "gappers and" "down the line" shots from the inside; you know his back is tweaked .
I hope I do better with these tables than last time. I really am very dyslexic and my computer skills are limited. If they come out "fouled up beyond all recognition" I apologize profusely.
All stats were provided by Baseball-Reference.com.